Last weekend BDC took the kids to a birthday party at one of those arcade game places that serves pizza. No, not the one with that cheesy mouse character. No, this particular venue I like to refer to as “the mouse on steroids”. Everything is bigger, “better” and more-of. There is laser tag, bumper cars and go-karts in addition to a crap-load of video arcade games; all under one roof. There is an all-you-can-eat buffet, salad bar and dessert bar. As a potential selling point for the parents, there are several themed dining areas separate from the gaming area where the adults can
hide enjoy a fairly tasty meal. I highly recommend the giant cinnamon rolls. But I digress.
So, in this super-sized world of multi-sensory stimulation, the first thing that draws my kiddos’ attention (after the go-karts & bumper cars) is the giant claw machine. In my experience as a mother of three darling children, these machines are nothing but heartache and are the money-pits of all arcade games. For $3 you get one chance to pluck out a prize with a claw that barely has any actual grasping capabilities. (I’m being generous with my use of “barely”.) At least with the other games there is a pretty good chance for them to win a few tickets that can be accumulated to trade in at the prize counter for a piece of gum. But this giant claw machine has piles of BIG toys. Real prizes. All just heaped up in a tower of treasures enclosed in a crystal clear glass box perfect for the picking. And the heavens open to shine down the brightest of lights on these gems.
Of course your kid wants the one and only, awesome, giant, super-shiny,-blingy-bling thing inside that prize bin. They want it bad. They HAVE to have it. They are CERTAIN, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that with their super-power claw skills, they can surely win that prize and it will forever be held in highest regard of all the
crappy treasured arcade game prizes. After several tries accompanied by multiple outbursts, a flood of tears and their college tuition, they MIGHT finally grab a .25 cent stuffed something-or-other. (That new X-Box they wanted for their birthday but didn’t get because it was too expensive now looks like a bargain.) Hence why BDC and I usually bribe (because it’s just cheaper) encourage the kids to forego the claw. Although, I admit there have been times when our patience has been tried as thin as tissue paper and we, ourselves, are sensory overloaded, that we’ve been known to cave acquiesce. That being said, we have the condition of “three tries only”.
This recent birthday party, with BDC running solo with the two little ones, was one of those times. $3. Nothing. Another $3. Nothing. Okay. This is it. “This is your last try Henry.” $3. Henry positions the claw. Runs to one side to eye-ball the logistics. Then to the other side. “Henry you have 12 seconds to try to make a grab.” More assessment. Then he releases the claw which grabs a most coveted prize and moves toward the shoot, prize dangling precariously. And then drops. Into the shoot! Hoots of glorious joy! Henry won a giant, nubby, yellow ball, the most appropriate of prizes for my little dude on the spectrum! Which, by the way, to date, is being held in the highest regard of all arcade game prizes!